The Asfari Institute at the American University of Beirut

The Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship is a research centre hosted at the American University of Beirut since 2012. It serves as a regional hub of a dynamic community of academics, practitioners, and members of the general public interested in exploring traditional and innovative forms of associational life and locally-grounded policy debates and in advancing realistic solutions to the obstacles to effective civil society and citizenship in the Arab world.

1The Institute provides and supports evidence-based research in areas related to political participation, social movements, and engagement in the Arab region. The Institute has also led several major research projects, including: human rights discourse in the Arab region; labour unions and the pursuit of social justice in the Arab world; and policy-making in times of uncertainty. Among its new activities is the consolidation of three new lines of work: civil society, law and governance; active citizenship in contentious contexts; and arts and culture as resistance. In addition, the Institute also promotes public awareness of ‘civil society in action’ through its monthly meetings, seminars and book launches, and stimulates fruitful dialogue among the region’s varied publics through its programmatic activities of workshops, conferences and publications.

As a solid partner in consolidating AUB’s commitment to educate and engage Lebanese society, the Institute is also mobilised to develop the first MA program in the region related to civil society, citizenship, and transformative change.

Activities of the Institute can be accessed on the Institute’s YouTube and SoundCloud channels, via Facebook and Twitter, as well as on the Institute’s main website and on its forthcoming blog. Furthermore, the Institute is a partner with Status, an online audio journal; critical interviews on issues of civil society and citizenship can be followed there.